Southwest's Healthy Sea Stars Could Shed Light on Wasting Disease

Thursday, April 23 2015

Josh Good holds a healthy solaster, or sun star, on an Unalaska beach. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

A mysterious virus that’s been wiping out sea stars on the West Coast since 2013 has spread all the way to Southeast Alaska -- but it hasn’t made it to Southwest. That’s what a group of researchers found last month in Unalaska and Kodiak.

Now, they hope the islands’ healthy sea stars will give them new clues about how the virus works. KUCB's Annie Ropeik has more.

State Lawmakers Echo Calls to Limit Halibut Bycatch

Wednesday, April 22 2015

Alaska lawmakers are adding their voices to the chorus seeking new limits on the Bering Sea trawl fleet.

A dozen representatives and senators from around the state have sent a letter to the chair of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. They’re asking for a 50 percent reduction in the amount of halibut that trawlers can take as bycatch.

Geothermal Hopes Stall Without City Backing

Wednesday, April 22 2015

A years-long effort to bring geothermal power to Unalaska may be on its last legs.

The city government is draining its accounts for exploring Makushin Volcano, saying the project is too expensive and risky to pursue any further.

The private trust that owns the resource disagrees -- but as KUCB’s Annie Ropeik reports, they’re stymied without local support.

Driver Rolls Car Into Water Off S-Curves

Tuesday, April 21 2015

The car came to rest at the water's edge off a rocky face in the center of the Airport Beach Road S-curves. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

Beachcombing in Unalaska usually turns up sea glass or driftwood. But police found something a lot bigger on Monday night -- a car wreck off Airport Beach Road.

The vehicle had been upside down off a rocky face in the center of the S-curves for at least a full day. Police were called there after a passer-by reported a man taking some items out of the wreck.

He turned out to be the car’s driver, and told police he’d rolled off the road Sunday evening, then freed himself and left the car on the rocks.

M/V Tustumena Hits Snag in Shipyard

Monday, April 20 2015

Courtesy of Nancy Heise

Southwest residents will have to wait a little longer for the Tustumena ferry to make its return to the region.

The Tusty's first trips in May -- including a run down the Aleutian Chain -- have been canceled due to delays in shipyard.

The vessel was only supposed to undergo minor repairs in Ketchikan this winter. But Department of Transportation spokesperson Jeremy Woodrow says the aging ferry needed some extra help.

Migrating Birds May Carry Viral Baggage

Monday, April 20 2015

The Izembek Refuge sits between two major flyways for migrating birds. (Courtesy of USGS)

Right now, a lethal strain of bird flu is wreaking havoc in the Lower 48.

It’s clear that migrating flocks have something to do with spreading the illness between farms and across continents -- but exactly what is still fuzzy.

As KUCB’s Lauren Rosenthal reports, a remote spot in southwest Alaska may hold some clues.

Raiders Place Second at State NYO

Monday, April 20 2015

(Courtesy: NYO Alaska)

Unalaska’s young athletes finished big this weekend at the 45th Annual Native Youth Olympics.

The Raiders team took second place overall at the state competition. And junior Kim Gumera was the male Athlete of the Meet.

He took first place for Alaskan High Kick and Two-Foot High Kick, and second place for One-Foot High Kick.

Unalaska’s Kaye Gumera, Connor McCracken, Neil Bucaneg, Brian Conwell and Alyssa Roxas also placed in their events.

Chilly Weekend Brought a Chance of Thundersnow

Monday, April 20 2015

Vertical storm clouds stacked up quickly over the Eastern Aleutians this weekend. (Lauren Rosenthal/KUCB)

This weekend brought a wintry blast of hail and rain to the Aleutian Islands -- and the potential for a unique kind of storm.

"Thundering snow is not the loud crack or rolling rumble that you hear with normal thunderstorms," says Michael Kutz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "In fact, a lot of people would mistake it for somebody moving something in another room."

In Seattle, Coast Guard Approves Protest Zone Near Shell Rigs

Thursday, April 16 2015

Protesters can occupy this stretch of Elliott Bay through June 15. (Credit: USCG 13th District External Affairs)

When Shell’s Arctic drill rigs arrive in Seattle next month, they’ll have company.

The Coast Guard has approved a 2-million-square-foot "First Amendment Area" that protestors can legally occupy in the water next to Terminal 5. That’s the dock where Shell’s rigs will tie up under a new lease with Seattle's port commission.

Environmentalists were outraged by that agreement. Now, a coalition called S-Hell No is recruiting kayakers and rowers to paddle out to the port and show their opposition to drilling.

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